Akash Kathiravan, Anirudh Singh, and Abhinav Penaganti are all MOT Charter High School sophomores majoring in biotechnology. They all joined Charity Crossing as a friend group who wanted to make a difference in their community. Fellow volunteers and CC founder Jay Muthukamatchi fondly call them ‘The Trios” because of their close friendship.
Abhinav and Anirudh first joined and started volunteering for Charity Crossing in July 2022 Akash followed soon after in August. “What motivated us was to help the community. When we first started, we had a lot of fun meeting new people, us three hanging out,” Anirudh says. They also enjoyed volunteering with the kind, caring, and compassionate volunteers they volunteered with. “We never had any rude encounters; everyone was always nice,” he continues, speaking about the wholesome atmosphere of the team of volunteers.
As part of the organization, they have volunteered at numerous locations. Still, they primarily are leaders at the CC Warehouse, where they help lead operations to organize goods and donations from the community. “We divide these [goods] into certain groups. We sort these boxes into household items, baby items, toys, and so on,” Akash says when asked about their work. “We send these sorted items to people in need, and we send these to locations such as Rosehill and Glasgow,” he continues, describing how these items are redistributed back to the community. Their work is important to Charity Crossing’s mission statement, as it reduces the amount of waste going to landfills, being as eco-sustainable and friendly as possible while giving back to the community.
The Trio has also credited their volunteering experience at Charity Crossing to them gaining many skills. “We learned how to manage a warehouse, work a jack, be more organized,” Anirudh says. He states his opinion that these skills will be useful in the future. The Trio also states that they’ve demonstrated growth over their time volunteering. “We expanded on our social skills as we got better with talking to people in the community,” Abhinav explains, highlighting how volunteering has allowed them to improve their social communication skills.
As students and volunteers who have contributed over 7 hours a week since joining, The Trio had some good advice for newer volunteers. “No matter what, school always comes first,” Abhinav says. They believe it is important to manage your time wisely and not get distracted when working. “Try to develop the skill of time management,” Anirudh says. “Sometimes we try to finish [work] all at school during study hall (a time allotted for students to work productively at the end of the day). On the days that we don’t have study halls, we get home and try to do as much as we can because volunteering on weekdays is usually from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m,” he explains.
Finally, The Trio advised volunteers to make volunteering easier and more enjoyable based on their experiences at Charity Crossing. “We joined with friends. So for us, volunteering became much more fun,” Abhinav relates his experience volunteering with his friends and how he enjoyed volunteering with them. “If you can, join one of your friends and volunteer with them.” Akash also talks about making new friends and talking to new people while volunteering. “Be open to all of the people around there,” he says, “they’re all respectful of each other, and they’re all nice.” All three are on their way to receiving Presidential Volunteers Gold Medal Award. Abhinav holds the record of volunteering 100 service hours in a record time of 3 months.